Welfare Reform: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Legislation

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In August 1996, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) passed. This legislation ended the Family Aid with Dependent Children (AFDC) and replaced it with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Unlike AFDC, TANF is not an entitlement program. This means that states are under no obligation to provide cash assistance to eligible families. Instead the federal government gives block grants to assist poor families with the emphasis on moving them from welfare to work or deterring them from applying for welfare in the first place. States are no longer obligated to match federal funds, creating an incentive to eliminate their previous portion of the funding for critical programs. Now due to less funding and no standard rules or regulations in place, thousands of families never find out that they still qualify for health insurance, childcare or food stamps. ?By eliminating the whole architecture of the old entitlement program, the federal government eliminated a lot of the existing protections for people? (Cahn pg. 1997). A recent study found, 60 percent of former welfare recipients in South Carolina did not know a parent could get transitional Medicaid, and nine states have no outreach efforts to inform parents that they were still entitled to receive childcare assistance after welfare benefits were closed (Sherman, Amey, Duffield, Ebb, & Weinstein, 1998). By denying or reducing coverage the state creates surplus (left over) funds that they are allowed to be used in other programs. Some states even went further using part of its welfare surplus to fund tax cuts for the middle class (Rose 2000). This new popular movement is in contrary to the original purpose of programs like TA... ... middle of paper ... ...households (Sherman et al., 1998). This non-profit investigation recommended Bibliography: Cahn, Naomi, R. 1997. Representing race outside of explicitly racialized contexts. Michigan Law Review. 95 (February):965-1004. Gilens, Martin. 1996. ?Race Coding? and white opposition to welfare. American Political Science Review. 90 (September):593-612. Rose, Nancy E. 2000. Scapegoating Poor Women: An Analysis of Welfare Reform. Journal of Economic Issues. 34 (March):143 Sherman, Arloc, Cheryl Amey, Barbara Duffield, Nancy Ebb, and Deborah Weinstein. Welfare to What: Early Findings on Family Hardship and Well-Being. Washington, D.C.: Children?s Defense Fund and National Coalition for the Homelessness, November 1988. U.S. Bureau of the Census. 1993. Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1993. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

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